The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory (i.e., a colony) or a sovereign people, with its own independent laws and legislature.
There is a highly useful book in this area. It was written by José Trías Monge – the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. His book is called: Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World.
José Trías Monge was not only the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was also the Attorney General of Puerto Rico, and the personal legal advisor of Gov. Luís Muñoz Marín.
He was also the lead draftsman of Public Law 600 and the constitution of Puerto Rico, as adopted in 1952.
He was the legal architect of the ELA (Estado Libre Asociado / Free Associated State) relationship, which created the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as enacted by the U.S. Congress on July 25, 1952.
He testified on behalf of this “Commonwealth” at the Insular Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress, and the De-Colonization Committee of the United Nations.
Throughout the island of Puerto Rico, and before the entire world, the two greatest proponents of “Estado Libre Asociado” were Luís Muñoz Marín and José Trías Monge.
They hailed it as a great milestone, in the developing sovereignty of Puerto Rico.
And then something happened.
In 1997, through the Yale University Press, Trías Monge published Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World.
The book is extremely well-documented: with 441 footnotes and a five-page, single-spaced bibliography. It combines decades of jurisprudence, an exhaustive review of congressional hearings and transcripts, analysis of United Nations resolutions, and personal first-hand information, acquired as the ultimate “insider” in U.S.–Puerto Rico government relations.
According to this book, the 1952 “ELA” was a complete fraud, whose sole value was to convince the United Nations that Puerto Rico was no longer a colony.
In 1952, as the leader of the free world, engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, this image was critical to the U.S.
The U.S. could not be the “leader of the free world,” and owner of the oldest colony in the world – that would be a glaring contradiction, and a complete diplomatic victory for the Soviet Union.
And so, according to Trías Monge, this fraudulent “Commonwealth” was cooked up.
It is a sad commentary on self-interest, that Trías Monge disclosed this after his highly profitable and illustrious career. Only after 45 years of money, power and prestige, did he share what he really knew.
He could have saved Puerto Rico a lot of suffering and heartache.
But at least, in 1997, he finally published his book.
We encourage everyone to read it.